Back to School and BYOD – What do students really need from their devices?

Is your school starting a BYOD Program this year? Wondering what information to give parents to ensure they purchase the right device? Below and at the Microsoft and Intel Parent Guide to School Devices website, there’s a simple list of 11 items that we think should be included in all school devices.


  1. 10” Minimum screen, touchscreen and keyboard – In a typical day a student might type an English assignment, jot down history notes, figure out maths equations, video a science experiment and record a speech. You’ll need a device that lets them work effectively in all subject areas.
  2. Runs both apps and programs – Students need apps like "Kids Story Builder" to create a story. But they also want cloud services like Microsoft Office 365 to collaborate and communicate from anywhere. Plus they need practice with the software that’s used in the workplace using Microsoft Office.
  3. Dual Band WiFi Access – Students need to connect to the school wireless network. Make sure it has dual band WiFi (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) to get the fastest access to the school network.
  4. Lightweight – Keep it light on their back. Carrying laptops from classroom to classroom and around the school means that devices should be under 1.5kg in weight.
  5. At least 6 hours of battery life – No one wants to run out of battery half-way through the school day. Some days we use them frequently, some days not at all. Be prepared for the busy days with a device that has at least a 6 hour battery life.
  6. USB Ports – Handing in assignments and homework, sharing resources, and general school practice still involves USB usage. You can email small files, but not video projects and large images. Plus student seed to be able to connect their device to printers, sensors, probes, thermometers and more for science.

Added Bonus

  1. High Performance – When you study so many subjects you need lots of software programs. Make sure the device can run demanding programs for music, design, science and technology classes. For primary students, Intel Atom™, Celeron® and Pentium processors are good. For secondary and beyond look for, Intel Core™ i3, Core™ i5 and Core™ i7 processors
  2. Pen – As teachers we know that students are more comfortable making notes, sketching, writing maths equations, science formulae and foreign languages with a pen. Using a pen to take notes with OneNote is a wonderful workflow.
  3. Durable for everyday school use - Students will probably drop the device and may spill things on it, so it needs to be tough and protected. Look for solid state drives and buy a protective case.
  4. Storage - Students need plenty of room for applications and their own files. At least 128GB of storage in laptops, ultrabooks and two-in-ones and 32GB of storage in tablets is recommended.
  5. Family safety software - Remember, when a child is not at school there may not be protective measures on the WiFi network. Keep them safe online using Windows Defender, SmartScreen and the Windows Family Settings.

Just as well there are many, many Windows devices at many, many price points that can help a parent to buy the best possible laptop for their child.

Download and print the checklist below, and refer them to the website from Microsoft and Intel for more information on the device range, online safety, and other guidelines.

Comments (1)

  1. Paul says:

    It would be great to see an article on the white elephant in the room when it comes to BYOD. How do school's deal the licensing issue of software? Most schools have an image of the software provided to students on school 'owned' devices. Hence a lot of schools have a BYOD program of choose one of these recommended devices to comply with software licensing. How do schools move to a truly BYOD program?

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